Fewer families in hotel ‘housing’

by Ian Begley

Recent figures reveal that 25 families seeking accommodation are currently being housed by South Dublin County Council in emergency accommodation in local hotels.
This figure is a decrease on the number of families seeking accommodation in April 2014 when it was at 37.
The cost of hotel accommodation used for emergency purposes is calculated and paid on a regional basis through Dublin City Council as the lead authority.
The projected spend on hotels for family emergency accommodation for 2014 is €4m.
The cost for SDCC alone is not available.
Responding to a question tabled by Cllr Francis Timmons (Ind) at the last council meeting, the chief executive said: “There are currently 25 families placed into various hotel accommodations across the Dublin region.
“While the council accepts that this is not the most appropriate type of accommodation for families, it is envisaged that the presenting need of families for emergency accommodation will require the continued use of such accommodation for the foreseeable future.
“The homeless services unit refers all families placed into emergency accommodation to the Focus Ireland New Presenters Team for assessment, allocation of a support work and support planning.
“This service endeavours to support families out of emergency accommodation into suitable housing accommodation and helps to minimise the length of time spent within emergency accommodation,” said the chief executive.
Commenting on this response, Cllr Timmons told The Gazette: “Homelessness is the biggest issue that faces the council for the next five years and I have made it a high priority on my agenda.
“It is disgraceful that hotels are being used as accommodation but it is a better alternative than the streets, hotels are no place to raise a family and have a family life.
“Seven to 10 families are becoming homeless every week and an overall plan is needed to deal with this crisis.’
“We need a crisis plan, emergency accommodation is badly needed. I have a few people every week coming to me looking for accommodation and the options are not acceptable, long waiting lists and lots of red tape,” he said.
Lucan Cllr Ruth Nolan (PBP) told The Gazette that she is also passionate about this issue.
She said: “For anybody to be homeless in 2014, when there’s so much money that certain people have in this country, is a disgrace.
“We’re now seeing a different type of homelessness. We’re actually seeing families who are working who can’t afford to pay their rent because they can’t get any rent supplements.
“It’s just not good enough what the Government has announced in the budget and the amount of homes that they’re going to build in the next five years.
“90,000 people are on the housing list nationally and I can only see this escalating,” said Cllr Nolan.

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